Police: Car crashes into house in Lomita; driver killed in wreck

Incident on Braun Avenue, San Vincente Street

SAN DIEGO - An 85-year-old man who might have been suffering from a medical problem crashed his car off a Lomita-area street and into the front of a home Monday afternoon, then died, police reported.

The accident in the 400 block of Braun Avenue was reported shortly after 1:30 p.m., according to San Diego police.

The driver was unresponsive when officers and medics arrived, SDPD Officer Dan Lasher said. The man, whose name was withheld pending family notification, died at the crash scene.

It was unclear if he had been hurt in the wreck, which sent his vehicle partway into the house, or if he was suffering from some type of health problem that caused the wreck, Lasher said.

No other injuries were reported.

Gary Loomis, who was inside the house when the car slammed into it, told 10News, "Crash, bang; that's what I heard. [I] ran out to see if the car got hit; more than the car got hit."

Police said the driver of the Kia sedan hit two vehicles as he pulled out into the street. It was about nine blocks west -- denting a pickup truck and a Ford Explorer, and then accelerating on eastbound San Felipe Street.

San Diego police Sgt. Art Doherty told 10News, "He picks up speed, according to witnesses, one being a professional driver; anywhere from 70 to 80 miles per hour."

Doherty said the driver went over the crest of a hill, adding, "The vehicle's basically launched; once it comes to rest, it bottoms out and continues forward. The driver never attempted to brake."

Loomis told 10News that it felt like a "… minor earthquake; like a grenade going off right next to you."

A little later, his wife, Jackie, returned from teaching school to find the street blocked off.

"[I] thought it was my husband. He had heart surgery last fall; I didn't think he was going to make it. Saw the neighbors out so I thought, 'Well, he's gone.'"

Jackie Loomis said a similar accident happened 40 years ago. She showed 10News the headlines from the Valley Grove News in July 1973. The house was a target then, too.  

"Once before, before I bought the house, which is why I got a heck of a deal on the house. A semi-truck with a full load of paint parked on the hill and came down without the driver. It went through the garage and wound up looking at the house down below," she said.

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